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Key things to consider when reviewing your Terms and Conditions

There is never a ‘right time’ to review and update your terms and conditions. Business and customer needs are always changing and the terms and conditions of trade for a business should always be changing to reflect those needs. But what are the key aspects you should consider?

There is no rule on how long, or indeed short, terms and conditions should be, but businesses should consider the following elements:

Price

Terms relating to pricing are among the most important provisions as they ultimately influence the financial health of your business. Clear pricing provisions are critical and allow your customers to understand your practices upfront and avoid future disputes.

Payment terms

Just as important is for you to consider how and when your customers’ payments will fall due, including dealing with non-payment and late payment terms, especially in the case of on-going services and supplies. For goods supplied, it is advisable to include retention of title provisions, which allow you to recover those goods when payment has not been made for them.

Service procedures

For service providers, you should consider which forms of services are likely to change frequently and which are likely to continue unchanged for a longer period and you should distinguish between them.

For example, defined time frames for the provision of services may vary according to demand and may be best referenced in marketing material which can be regularly altered. In the alternative, you may have a prescribed onboarding process which should be explained to customers and is less likely to change.

Insurance

The provision of some services require professional indemnity or other form of insurance to protect customers. You should consider a suitable policy and refer to the fact that insurance is carried in your terms and conditions.

Termination

Particularly in the case of ongoing services, it is important that you protect your business from onerous  conditions that are difficult to satisfy. However, some matters may be outside of your control particularly where you rely on third party suppliers or subcontractors and you should consider how long your contract will last and what may trigger a termination, and deal appropriately with the consequences.

Statutory rights and consumer protection

Your customers, particularly in the case of individual consumers, will have statutory rights, whether this be for rights to terminate or rights to return or reject goods. You cannot use your terms and conditions to contract out of certain rights, and if you are not careful and exclude a right that may not be excluded, the entirety of your terms and conditions could be void.

Finally, it is important to ensure that where possible, contracts are concluded on your own terms and avoid copying those of a competitor or similar businesses, to ensure they are tailored to your needs and your business, and do not infringe anybody else’s rights.

The points set out above is not a complete list of requirements for your terms and conditions but cover some of the most vital points to consider. We will be pleased to help you review or create your terms and conditions.

To discuss this topic further, contact Quintin Smith, a solicitor in our Corporate and Commercial team on 01689 887869 or email quintin.smith@cwj.co.uk.

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Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.